(The Legend of Tinker Street was created by Justin Watrel for the holiday event, “Teens, Tots & Toys” for the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library)
Teens, Tots & Toys Mascot, the holiday elf, Tinker Street, is a lovable little prankster who lives in the valley of the Catskills Mountains in which the downtown Main Street of Woodstock, NY is named after.
Tinker Street is a gregarious, generous elf who represents the happiness, generosity and thoughtful charity during the holiday season. Tinker Street does not represent one holiday but all holidays celebrated where love, family and get-togetherness are found. Coming out of his home only on December 1st of each year, you can never truly see Tinker Street. You can only feel him when good thoughts pass through you, when a good deed is done and when helping another person is done with great kindness.
Tinker Street is an elf of great kindness and tolerance and where you find him is in the understanding that no two holidays are alike so respect for all of them is very important. The true meaning from a visit from Tinker Street is the generosity to charity, the thoughtfulness of a distant family member or friend and looking back to the kindness and remembrance of someone who is gone but not forgotten. When we receive a visit from Tinker Street, we see only the best in ourselves and others around us.
When you see a big smile on someone’s face or happy laughter in a gathering, you know Tinker Street has been there. So to be part of the holiday celebration of “Teens, Tots & Toys”, we wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season and experience the magic in the days ahead.
Only Tinker Street can add a certain joy to the holidays and that’s the symbol of “Teens, Tots & Toys”.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library!
The Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library with World Champion Skater, Elaine Zayak, at the first “Teens. Tots & Toys” in 2015.
The Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library at the Second Annual “Teens, Tots & Toys” with Best Selling Author Christopher Raschka in 2016.
Join us again at the Lodi Memorial Library next December for ‘Teens, Tots & Toys 2017’
I have had to put my walk on hold again for a month as I was organizing another visit from the Bergen County Zoo to the Lodi Memorial Library. The Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library decided to do a series of events with the theme “Follow the Yellow Brick Road Back to You Library”.
Our first event was the visit from Miss New Jersey 2016 Brenna Weick and finished with a huge fundraiser at Friendly’s Restaurant in Woodland Park, New Jersey. We reached out to the Lodi Community and the surrounding towns with engaging, innovative programming that appeals to all ages.
This event featured two innovative programs that were created by the Bergen County Zoo exclusively for the library, “Dorothy’s Barnyard Animals” and “The Tales of Flying Monkey’s”. Both programs included a reading of the book ‘The Wizard of Oz’ tailored to that program.
The Tales of Flying Monkeys was the first theme of the event
In the first program, “Dorothy’s Barnyard Animals”, zoo educator Carol Fusco created a program to show the children and their parents what animals live in a barnyard and what animals ‘Dorothy’ might have taken care of while working on the farm. She went through what animals are available to see at the zoo versus what animals you might see on a working farm in New Jersey and beyond. She then asked the kids what animals they have seen recently to a very engaging discussion of what is in their own backyards.
Dorothy’s Barnyard Animals was the second theme for the event
Then she brought out a special guest, ‘Butterscotch’ the chicken, who came out to visit us all the way from the Bergen County Zoo. This gentle little bird was so friendly I swear that she smiled at me. The kids just loved her and some of them got to pet her. I can tell you that that chicken did not blink and the kids got such a kick out of it (I could tell the parents did as well with the big smile on some of their faces).
The second program, “The Tales of Flying Monkey’s”, Carol and her partner from the zoo read a section of the book after Dorothy had melted the Wicked Witch of the West and how the monkeys were indebted to Dorothy for freeing them from the clutches of the evil witch. They explained who the monkey’s really were to the kids and made them less afraid of them. I thought it was an interesting they took that perspective on how misunderstood the characters were in the movie versus the book.
“Tales of Flying Monkeys”
Then there was a discussion of mammals who fly and there place in the wild. There was an interesting discussion how animals fly and the place in nature that they had. The educators passed around pictures of different animals and explained how they live in the wild. For a program that was geared to kids from the first grade to third grade I really learned a lot. I never knew that much about animals from the perspective of the zoo keepers but it opened my eyes on their place in society. Plus I got a kick out of holding the chicken. It is really a great chicken.
We had about 30 people at the event and a mixture of age groups including a lot of parents and grandparents join us for the afternoon. I even had the parents walk up to me and say that they learned a lot as well. That made me feel good that the Friends could offer such a nice educational program that engaged the kids and got them off their cell phones. It was a younger crowd then I had thought we would attract but it seemed to me that the families all had a good time and were happy that the zoo came to them.
The program was followed by a light reception with all sorts of cookies, fresh fruit, wrap sandwiches and chicken fingers that were donated by Inserra ShopRite of Lodi. We want to thank them and Inserra Supermarkets for their support. Thank you!
For those who have never been to the Bergen County Zoo, it is a real treat. It is located in Paramus, New Jersey in the Van Saun Park off Forrest Avenue. It is a real treat and has a nice selection of animals to visit and more creative programming to experience. A big Thank you to Carol Fusco and her team for creating such a great program for the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library.
Thank you to everyone who participated and we hope you enjoyed the program.
Articles on the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library events:
I took time out of my walk in Manhattan to run another event for the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library. The Friends had planned a series of Fall events around the theme “Follow the Yellow Brick Road Back to Your Library”, to encourage residents of Lodi to come back and see the changes at their library and in celebration of the 116th Anniversary of the novel “The Wizard of Oz”. In celebration of the books anniversary, we invited Miss New Jersey 2016 Miss Brenna Weick to join in the celebration.
Miss Weick is a 22 year old college graduate from Mantua, New Jersey. She earned a BS in Psychology with a minor in Communications from High Point University. She is the recipient of a number of scholastic awards including the High Point University Academic Achievement Award Scholarship and the Alpha Gamma Delta “Strive for Pi” Academic Excellence Award. She was the recipient of both the Miss New Jersey and Miss America Community Service Awards and earned the Bronze medal for participation in the Duke of Edinburgh program through the Miss America Organization.
This delightful afternoon started with a reading from the novel “The Wizard of Oz”, with Miss Weick reading to an audience of over 60 children and their parents. She read several passages on the trip to Oz and some of the background stories of the main characters.
The reading was followed by a Q & A on Miss Weick’s role as Miss New Jersey and being an ambassador of the Miss America Pageant. She also engaged the audience with her time at the recent Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City. It was interesting to learn how the pageant worked, the experiences she had meeting all the other contestants and her role at the pageant as the home town favorite.
She also talked about the work she is doing all over the state with her platform “A World of Difference: Navigating the Cybersphere”, where her aim is to teach generations (young and old) how use the Internet safely and with integrity. She has utilized this platform to host seminars for parents and senior citizens in an attempt to bridge the gap that has been created with the growth of technology.
Miss Weick, in keeping with the theme of the event sang “Over the Rainbow” to the audience. Miss Weick had played the role of ‘Dorothy’ in her high school production of the ‘Wizard of Oz’ her senior year. It was a delight to the whole audience and everyone enjoyed it. We also asked if she could sing the song that she sang at the Miss America pageant ‘Someone like You’ from the musical Jekyll & Hyde. Her perfect rendition of the song brought the house down with a loud applause from the audience.
When the Q & A was over, the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library made a special presentation to Miss Weick. Friends member Marie Shrieks made a presentation to Miss Weick from the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library making her an ‘Honorary Member’ of the Friends of the Library and Library Director Karyn Gost presented her with a beautiful bouquet of flowers from the library staff. Councilwoman Patricia Licata from the Lodi Borough Council greeted Miss Weick as well.
Patricia Licata, Brenna Weick and Justin Watrel at “Celebrating Books: the 116th Anniversary of ‘The Wizard of Oz’
After the program was over, Miss Weick stayed and signed autographed head shots from the pageant and “Wizard of Oz” books that the Friends were selling to raise money. She was engaging to residents and Friends of all ages.
The afternoon was followed by an light reception in Miss Weick’s honor that everyone was invited to that was sponsored by Shoprite of Lodi and we ended the afternoon with a showing in the upstairs screening room of the 1939 version of “The Wizard of Oz” starring Judy Garland.
Justin Watrel presenting Brenna Weick an Honorary Membership to the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library
It was a wonderful afternoon to everyone who attended and the Friends got many compliments about the event. Hats off to Miss New Jersey 2016 Miss Brenna Weick who is representing the State of New Jersey with grace and dignity and being a true “Friend of the Library”.
Brenna Weick singing “Over the Rainbow” to the crowd
Think about joining the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library.
I want to credit this video to Marc Nazeh for this video at the Lodi Memorial Library
The video presentation of the wonderful afternoon on YouTube.
We asked Miss Weick to sing this song from the ‘Miss America Talent’ portion
Check out Articles on the Event and others for the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library:
One of the projects that I was working on as the Junior Friends Chair of another Friends group two years ago was the holiday event, “Teens, Tots & Toys: the Holiday Festival” an all day event that was filled with movies, craft making and celebrity visits all to raise funds and collect toys for the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation of Midland Park, NJ. It had all been planned and then got cancelled. It was an omen too as it snowed the entire day that year and all holiday events had to be cancelled.
It was time to put the event into motion. As my holiday activities were in full swing, we had just finished Christmas tree sales selling 240 trees through our Men’s Association, Christmas Decorating judging with the Mayor’s Celebration Committee, visits to help out in the Soup Kitchen, the fire department’s Annual ‘Santa Around Town’ and volunteering for the Sinterklaas parade, ‘Teens, Tots & Toys’ was the last big event on my list of holiday events.
We invited US Champion, World Champion and Olympian Elaine Zayak to join us for a book reading, Q & A and then an autograph session to be followed by two movies and then lastly gingerbread house making. I knew it was going to be a long day. It had taken six weeks to plan.
Even though the crowds were low (I never understand the patrons of this library that don’t appreciate a really great free event), the event went off nicely. Elaine showed up with her son, Jack and could not have been friendlier. She had just come back from teaching at the Hackensack Ice House and was dressed in her US Figure Skating jacket. She was a true professional.
Elaine Zayak in 1994 when she came back at the United States National Champions
I felt embarrassed by the turnout but Elaine was like don’t worry about it. She had been through this before at book signings. She had been at ones where there were five people and some where there were fifty. She told me she wanted to have something where she and Jack could spend the day with each other and she could involved him. The afternoon was perfect for that.
We started the afternoon with a warm welcome to the crowd that was there and wished everyone a Happy Holiday season. Then I went on to talk about the Legend of ‘Tinker Street’, the magical elf, who the event was honoring and then I introduced Elaine.
‘Tinker Street, the Elf’
A lot of the audience did not know of the contributions to figure skating that Elaine had done. She had introduced so many triple jumps into her skating program when she was starting out that the famous ‘Zayak Rule’ had been created to limit the amount of jumps that you could have in a program. She also brought a sense of athleticism to the sport by encouraging skaters to not just use a sense of style but a sense power to the sport. This gave it a strong point after the ‘figures’ went away in the judging.
Elaine read along with her son, Jack, from the book the “Skating Shoes’ by Noel Streatfeild. This book was made famous by the movie, “You got Mail” when Meg Ryan mentions the book to a bookstore patron. It was a very uplifting book about two friends and fellow skaters who were starting to compete against each other. The two of them took time to read from the book.
Elaine Zayak and her son, Jack
During the Q & A, there were some interesting questions that many of the Friends members had such as her competitions, what it was like to be in the Olympics, many of the famous skaters that she competed with and against, the Tonya/Nancy affair that was taking place at the same time at Nationals in 1994 and what she was doing today. She took a lot of pride in what she was doing with her teaching and encouraging young skaters.
Ms. Zayak with the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library
We filmed the entire event and unfortunately the Mayor had been a little late because of a mix up in the time so we were able to refilm this segment of the program. We as the Friends, lead by our President Judy Schroeder, presented Elaine with an honorarium making her a member of the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library, the Library Director Siobhan Koch presented Elaine with her own copy of the book, “The Skating Shoes” and then the Mayor made his presentation.
Lodi, NJ Mayor Emil Carafa with Ms. Zayak
Lodi Borough Mayor Emil Carafa presented Elaine Zayak with an official medal from the Borough of Lodi, New Jersey and then placed the medal on her and read a proclamation from the Borough of Lodi honoring her many accomplishments. It was very touching to both her and the audience. Another nice thing about it is that the Mayor remembered when she was still skating as a teen and helping raise money for her to compete. Elaine also donated her fee to her two favorite charities, which we thought was very nice of her.
Mayor Carafa with Ms. Zayak
Everyone then joined us for a reception in honor of her visit. We had a beautiful spread of food donated by Inserra Shoprite of Lodi, New Jersey. The reception included a six foot Italian hoagie, a platter of fresh cut fruit, three trays of assorted cookies, assorted chips and assorted juices, bottled waters and sodas that the patrons could enjoy. Elaine’s son, Jack, really seemed to enjoy himself, first helping his mom with the book reading and then enjoying the good food.
The Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library presenting Ms. Zayak with a membership to ‘The Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library’
After Elaine and Jack left for the afternoon, we showed the film ‘Arthur Christmas’, the story about one of Santa’s two sons who helps save Christmas for one little girl whose gift was left behind in the North Pole. It is a very uplifting movie about the true meaning of the holiday and the spirit of giving.
After the movie, about fifteen families with about thirty children participated in the first annual making of Gingerbread houses, in which everyone looked like they had a lot of fun. You should have seen some of the creations that came out of that afternoon, made of icing and candies.
Although we did not have the crowd that we thought we would, everyone who came had a very nice time with the event. There is still a lot we have to learn about running these events, the patrons who came had a nice time meeting Elaine Zayak and her son, watching the film and creating the gingerbread houses.
This is what I read from the Legend of Tinker Street, the Magical Elf:
‘The Legend of Tinker Street’
Teens, Tots & Toys Mascot, the holiday elf, Tinker Street, is a lovable little prankster, who lives in the valley of the Catskills Mountains in which the downtown Main Street of Woodstock, NY is named after.
Tinker Street is a gregarious, generous elf who represents the happiness, generosity and thoughtful charity during the holiday season. Tinker Street does not represent one holiday but all holidays celebrated where love, family and get-togetherness are found.
Coming out of his home only on December 1st of each year, you can never truly see Tinker Street. You can only feel him when good thoughts pass through you, when a good deed is done and when helping another person is done with great kindness.
Tinker Street is an elf of great kindness and tolerance and where you find him is in the understanding that no two holidays are alike so respect for them is very important. The true meaning from a visit from Tinker Street is the generosity to charity, the thoughtfulness of a distant family member or friend and looking back to the kindness and remembrance of someone who is gone but not forgotten.
When we receive a visit from Tinker Street, we see only the best in ourselves and others around us. When you see a big smile on someone’s face or happy laughter in a gathering, you know Tinker Street has been there.
So to be part of the very first celebration of “Teens, Tots & Toys”, we wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season and experience the magic in the days ahead.’
This event also raised the awareness of the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation of Midland Park, New Jersey and the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library donated the next week around fifty toys and forty children’s books from the library that were donated to the charity, which helps families with children with cancer. It was a big plus to the Foundation of our donation and it helped so many children in a tough holiday season.
For all you patrons who attended the event or donated toys to help, thank you all from the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library for making such a big difference in a strangers life. You all show the true meaning of the holidays by giving of yourselves and commitment to charity.
Merry Christmas to you all!
Please enjoy this two part video of Elaine Zayak’s visit to the Lodi Memorial Library and her ‘key to the city’ presentation by the Mayor of Lodi, Emil Cafara!
Elaine Zayak’s Reading at the Lodi Memorial Library’s “First Annual Teens, Tots & Toys”
Elaine Zayak being presented Honorariums from The Lodi Memorial Library and the Mayor of Lodi, NJ presenting her the medal from the Borough of Lodi, NJ.
Elaine Zayak receiving a “Key to the City” medal to Lodi, NJ
Elaine Zayak at the U.S. Nationals
Elaine Zayak in the 1994 National Championships
Articles on the event for the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library:
Our full page coverage in The Community News December 2015
I took time out from my walk in Manhattan to run a second special event for the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library. We celebrated this Friday the 13th with a special retrospect of showing the original uncut version of the 1980 classic film, “Friday the 13th” starring Betsy Palmer and Adrienne King. This was the second special event I ran since joining the Friends in September.
We opened the retrospect with a talk on the film, followed by the uncut original film. In today’s terms, this film is rather tame in comparison to some PG-13 films and video games which I think are much more graphic. In its day though, this was a real eye-opener in film making and introduced the 80’s to the genre along with the movie ‘Halloween’ to the slasher film.
The Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library at the “Friday the 13th” retrospect
We set up a complete concession stand with movie candy, various snacks and chips and beverages to the audience. It was a special treat to many who had never seen the film and managed to jump at the right times.
We ended the retrospect with an interview with Don Stein, a local Lodi resident who was a Scout Master at Camp No Be Bo Ca (North Bergen Boy Scout Camp) thirty five years ago. He told our YouTube audience about his time with helping prepare the camp for the filming and assisting the producers with the sets. What was interesting about the interview is how he described how the storm scenes were done with the Blairstown Fire Department shooting water all over the set and rocking the vehicles to make them look like they were going through the storm. You can see the whole interview on YouTube.
The movie “Friday the 13th”
We had tried to get an actor who was in the film to come out and talk to the crowd about their time on the film but Melissa Merindino (Betsy Palmer’s daughter), Marc Nelson and Peter Brouwer all turned us down. It seemed to be the consensus of the actors that they did not want to have an association to the film anymore. Some like Adrienne King embrace the film and promote it. I respected their thoughts and feelings toward the film even though we would have loved to host any or all of them.
Justin Watrel giving the introduction to the film
We were able to interview that evening local Lodi residents, Donald and Marie Stein after the filming. Don Stein, the President of the Lodi Senior group, was a Boy Scout Master the summer of the filming of the movie and talked with us about his time helping the film crew on the set. He and others Scout leaders helped the Boonton Fire Department with some of the scenes. Although he did not meet any of the actors personally, he talked about how the film was made and his time on the set. Please see the the YouTube video ‘An interview with Don Stein at the 35th Anniversary of the film “Friday the 13th” at the Lodi Memorial Library’ on the Lodi Memorial Library Video Library.
Overall it was a big success to those who attended and I hope you access the video on YouTube “Friday the 13th” at the Lodi Memorial Library and my interview with Lodi resident Donald Stein, who worked on the film helping the Blairstown Fire Department when he was a scout master at Camp NoBeBoCo (North Bergen Boy Scout Camp) in 1979.
Justin Watrel’s introduction to the ‘Friday the 13th” 30 Anniversary Retrospect:
After the movie was over, we had the discussion with Donald Stein but the movie is what people came for. This is the introduction to the film. It is still scary after all these years.
Part One of the Movie “Friday the 13th”
The Making of “Friday the 13th”
I hope you enjoy our retrospect. It was a lot of fun.
Articles on the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library:
The Executive Board of the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library honoring Miss New Jersey, Lindsey Giannini with an Honorary Membership to the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library.
You have probably wondered why I have not been as active on my walking project. I joined the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library back in early September and immediately started a project (on top of many others) an event called “Celebrating Books: 150th Anniversary of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Below is the press release from the event. Check out our pictures and videos on YouTube shortly. It was a great event that many people including many of us ‘big kids’ enjoyed:
Miss New Jersey 2015 Lindsey Giannini visits Lodi Memorial Library
On October 22, 2015 Miss New Jersey 2015 Miss Lindsey Giannini visited the Lodi Memorial Library in Lodi, New Jersey. Miss Giannini was invited by the Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library and the Lodi Memorial Library as part of the special event “Celebrating Books: 150th Anniversary of “Alice in Wonderland” in honoring this classic novel.
Miss Giannini read an excerpt from the first chapter of the novel as Alice discovers the white rabbit and chases him down the rabbit hole. This was followed by a Question & Answer discussion on the novel by Lewis Carroll with the audience made up of many elementary and junior high students from Lodi. Miss Giannini discussed her love of the novel as a child and the influence it had on her growing up. She then engaged the crowd on how she became Miss New Jersey and her path to the Miss America competition this summer. The audience was fascinated on what it took in pageant competition to become Miss New Jersey.
After the Q & A, Miss Giannini asked for participation from the audience on a series of magic tricks (Miss Giannini is an amateur magician) and had the children and the adults performing magic tricks for the audience. She even had one parent participate on the time it takes to get distracted while driving and texting. Even the parents understood after the program how difficult it is to do two things at once.
The Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library with Miss New Jersey Lindsay Giannini
Miss Giannini’s platform for the competition is “The Dangers of Distractive Driving” and her participation in advocating in the hearings as part of People Against Distracted Driving became “Nikki’s Law” and was signed by the Governor in 2013. “Nikki’s Law” requires signage and variable message signs to warn against distractive driving. These signs are available in 17 states and 3 countries. Miss Giannini is a Junior at Rowan University with a 3.9 GPA in Broadcast Journalism and has received the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Scholarship, the Rowen University Trustee Scholarship and the President’s Education Award for Academic Excellence. In 2014, she was recognized by the Miss America Organization with a National Community Award. In 2015, she was named “Children’s Miracle Maker” by the Miss New Jersey Organization for being the contestant who raised the most money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, one of her passions.
After the Q & A and the magic tricks, Miss Giannini joined the crowd in picture taking with none other than Alice herself joining in with the fun. One of the Lodi teachers joined in the fun by dressing up as Alice to entertain and take photos with the audience. Miss New Jersey was presented with a proclamation from the Borough of Lodi by Deputy Mayor Patricia Ann Licata and an Honorary Membership to the Friends of the Library by President Judy Schroeder. An autograph session followed as the Friends of the Lodi Library sold copies of “Alice in Wonderland: to raise money for the library. Even the Lodi Women’s Tennis Team took a break from their match with Hawthorne High School to join in the fun. After that, everyone joined in a special “Tea Party” with foods from the book including cookies, fresh fruit tarts, freshly sliced fruits (lots of pineapple), fruit juice and water.
Miss New Jersey Lindsay Giannini with local Lodi children
Refreshments were continued upstairs as the crowd settled in to watch a double feature of the 1903 Silent version of “Alice in Wonderland”, the original film that was set to music. Most of the patrons had never seen a silent film so it was a treat and the second film was Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” starring Katherine Beaumont. It was a wonderland afternoon for those who were there of great food, engaging conversation, enjoyable movie watching and the excitement to meet Miss New Jersey 2015 Lindsey Giannini, who set by example the true meaning of community spirit through service. The Friends of the Lodi Memorial Library and the Lodi Memorial Library want to thank everyone who attended.
Enjoy this two part video of Lindsey’s visit to the Lodi Memorial Library!
Part Two of Lindsey Giannini’s visit to the Lodi Memorial Library.
After Lindsey’s visit, we showed the original 1903 version of “Alice in Wonderland” followed by the Disney version of “Alice in Wonderland”.
The Disney version of “Alice in Wonderland”
The original 1903 silent version of “Alice in Wonderland”
One of the most beautiful songs from a version of ‘Alice in Wonderland’, “Can You Hear Us, Alice”
We got recognition from Web Junction in 2015 for the event through Facebook: